Danielle, a recent graduate from Desert Hot Springs High School suffered tremendous tragedy in her family more than two years ago when she walked out of her bedroom at her father's home, and found the bodies of her brother, father, his girlfriend and her 15-year-old twins shot to death. Authorities later determined that her brother had shot the victims before turning the gun on himself.
Despite the emotional trauma, Danielle managed to stay in school and prepare herself for college.
Each year, The Riverside County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and the Council for Youth Development puts on the Annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Youth Awards Ceremony to provide scholarship assistance and spotlight outstanding young people poised to make a difference.
Danielle was one of 22 young people nominated this year. Her guidance counselor nominated her as an example of a young person who exhibited the six pillars of character in the CHARACTER COUNTS!: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
Now 18, Danielle plans to become a nurse and work with children with cancer or special needs. She said she is driven by the desire to be a good role model for her six-year-old sister.
Outcomes & Benefits
At the ceremony, 7 honorees received $150 Visa check cards. Of those, 2 received $500 scholarships and Danielle, who plans to study at the University of Redlands and Loma Linda University, received the top scholarship of $5,000. "It was really amazing just to be named one of the finalists, let alone to win the scholarship," Danielle said. "It was really an honor."